INDIANAPOLIS, April 16 (UPI) — A U.S. pharmacy specialist in family health says the small airways of young children may mimic the symptoms of asthma wheezing.
Julie Koehler of Butler University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Indianapolis says high-pitched whistling during exhalation — a classic sign of asthma — can also signal viral respiratory tract infections due to a cold or flu.
Koehler notes infants and toddlers without an infection having asthma-like symptoms are diagnosed with reactive airway disease. She says data suggests up to half of all children have wheezing before age 3 — with about one-third developing asthma before age 6.
She says children experiencing symptoms more than twice weekly or whose sleep is affected by symptoms may need medication to control symptoms and minimize possible airway damage.
Some signs a child with reactive airway disease may be developing asthma include:
– Wheezing more than four times a year or lasting longer than a day.
– Frequent coughing especially at night or after physical activity.
– Skin irritation linked to allergies such as eczema or evidence of other allergies such as hay fever.
– Family history of asthma.
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